The credit ratings game
The collapse of so many AAA-rated structured finance products in 2007-2008 has brought renewed attention to the causes of ratings failures and the conflicts of interest in the Credit Ratings Industry. We provide a model of competition among Credit Ratings Agencies (CRAs) in which there are three possible sources of conflicts: 1) the CRA conflict of interest of understating credit risk to attract more business; 2) the ability of issuers to purchase only the most favorable ratings; and 3) the trusting nature of some investor clienteles who may take ratings at face value. We show that when combined, these give rise to three fundamental equilibrium distortions. First, competition among CRAs can reduce market efficiency, as competition facilitates ratings shopping by issuers. Second, CRAs are more prone to inflate ratings in boom times, when there are more trusting investors, and when the risks of failure which could damage CRA reputation are lower. Third, the industry practice of tranching of structured products distorts market efficiency as its role is to deceive trusting investors. We argue that regulatory intervention requiring: i) upfront payments for rating services (before CRAs propose a rating to the issuer), ii) mandatory disclosure of any rating produced by CRAs, and iii) oversight of ratings methodology can substantially mitigate ratings inflation and promote efficiency.
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Marco Pagano & Paolo Volpin, 2009.
"Securitization, Transparency and Liquidity,"
EIEF Working Papers Series
0907, Einaudi Institute for Economics and Finance (EIEF), revised Feb 2012.
- Pagano, Marco & Volpin, Paolo, 2008. "Securitization, Transparency and Liquidity," CEPR Discussion Papers 7105, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Pagano, Marco & Volpin, Paolo, 2008. "Securitization, Transparency and Liquidity," Working Papers 09-1, University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School, Weiss Center.
- Marco Pagano & Paolo Volpin, 2008. "Securitization, Transparency and Liquidity," CSEF Working Papers 210, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy, revised 31 Jul 2010.
- Faure-Grimaud, Antoine & Peyrache, Eloïc & Quesada, Lucía, 2005.
"The Ownership of Ratings,"
CEPR Discussion Papers
5432, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Morgan, John & Stocken, Phillip C, 2003.
" An Analysis of Stock Recommendations,"
RAND Journal of Economics,
The RAND Corporation, vol. 34(1), pages 183-203, Spring.
- Dion Bongaerts & K.J. Martijn Cremers & William N. Goetzmann, 2009.
"Tiebreaker: Certification and Multiple Credit Ratings,"
NBER Working Papers
15331, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Dion Bongaerts & K. J. Martijn Cremers & William N. Goetzmann, 2012. "Tiebreaker: Certification and Multiple Credit Ratings," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 67(1), pages 113-152, 02.
- Dion Bongaerts & Martijn Cremers & William Goetzmann, 2008. "Tiebreaker: Certification and Multiple Credit Ratings," Yale School of Management Working Papers amz2394, Yale School of Management, revised 01 Sep 2009.
- Jose A. Scheinkman & Wei Xiong, 2003. "Overconfidence and Speculative Bubbles," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 111(6), pages 1183-1219, December.
- Emmanuel Farhi & Josh Lerner & Jean Tirole, "undated".
"Fear of Rejection? Tiered Certification and Transparency,"
78856, Harvard University OpenScholar.
- Emmanuel Farhi & Josh Lerner & Jean Tirole, 2013. "Fear of rejection? Tiered certification and transparency," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 44(4), pages 610-631, December.
- Emmanuel Farhi & Josh Lerner & Jean Tirole, 2008. "Fear of Rejection? Tiered Certification and Transparency," NBER Working Papers 14457, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Jean-Jacques Laffont & Jean Tirole, 1993. "A Theory of Incentives in Procurement and Regulation," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262121743, March.
- Marco Ottaviani & Peter Norman Sørensen, 2006. "Reputational cheap talk," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 37(1), pages 155-175, 03.
- Alessandro Lizzeri, 1999. "Information Revelation and Certification Intermediaries," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 30(2), pages 214-231, Summer.
- Arnoud W. A. Boot & Todd T. Milbourn & Anjolein Schmeits, 2006.
"Credit Ratings as Coordination Mechanisms,"
Review of Financial Studies,
Society for Financial Studies, vol. 19(1), pages 81-118.
- Arnoud W. A. Boot & Todd T. Milbourn, 2002. "Credit Ratings as Coordination Mechanisms," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 457, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
- Arnoud W.A. Boot & Todd T. Milbourn, 2002. "Credit Ratings as Coordination Mechanisms," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 02-058/2, Tinbergen Institute.
- Boot, Arnoud W A & Milbourn, Todd, 2002. "Credit Ratings as Coordination Mechanism," CEPR Discussion Papers 3331, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Adam B. Ashcraft & Til Schuermann, 2008.
"Understanding the securitization of subprime mortgage credit,"
318, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
- Ashcraft, Adam B. & Schuermann, Til, 2008. "Understanding the Securitization of Subprime Mortgage Credit," Foundations and Trends(R) in Finance, now publishers, vol. 2(3), pages 191-309, June.
- Bo Becker & Todd Milbourn, 2008. "Reputation and competition: evidence from the credit rating industry," Harvard Business School Working Papers 09-051, Harvard Business School, revised Sep 2010.
- repec:rje:randje:v:37:y:2006:1:p:155-175 is not listed on IDEAS
- Navin Kartik, 2008.
"Strategic Communication with Lying Costs,"
2008 Meeting Papers
350, Society for Economic Dynamics.
- Roland Strausz, .
"Honest Certification and the Threat of Capture,"
018, Departmental Working Papers.
- Strausz, Roland, 2004. "Honest Certification and the Threat of Capture," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 25, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
- Kartik, Navin & Ottaviani, Marco & Squintani, Francesco, 2007. "Credulity, lies, and costly talk," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 134(1), pages 93-116, May.
- Erik Durbin & Ganesh Iyer, 2009. "Corruptible Advice," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(2), pages 220-242, August.
- Hand, John R M & Holthausen, Robert W & Leftwich, Richard W, 1992. " The Effect of Bond Rating Agency Announcements on Bond and Stock Prices," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 47(2), pages 733-752, June.
- Benabou, R. & Laroque, G., 1988.
"Using Privileged Information To Manipulate Markets: Insiders, Gurus And Credibility,"
19, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Discussion Paper.
- Roland Benabou & Guy Laroque, 1992. "Using Privileged Information to Manipulate Markets: Insiders, Gurus, and Credibility," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(3), pages 921-958.
- Benabou, R. & Laroque, G., 1989. "Using Privileged Information To Manipulate Markets: Insiders, Gurus, And Credibility," Working papers 513, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
- Beatriz Mariano, 2008.
"Do Reputational Concerns Lead to Reliable Ratings?,"
FMG Discussion Papers
dp613, Financial Markets Group.
- Beatriz Mariano, 2008. "Do reputational concerns lead to reliable ratings?," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 24433, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
- Adam B. Ashcraft & Paul Goldsmith-Pinkham & James Vickery, 2010.
"MBS ratings and the mortgage credit boom,"
449, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
- Efraim Benmelech & Jennifer Dlugosz, 2009.
"The Credit Rating Crisis,"
NBER Working Papers
15045, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Inderst, Roman & Ottaviani, Marco, 2009.
"Misselling through agents,"
IMFS Working Paper Series
36, Goethe University Frankfurt, Institute for Monetary and Financial Stability (IMFS).
- Reinhart, Carmen & Levich, Richard & Majoni, Giovanni, 2002. "Ratings, rating agencies and the global financial system: Summary and policy implications," MPRA Paper 13249, University Library of Munich, Germany.
- Benmelech, Efraim & Dlugosz, Jennifer, 2009.
"The alchemy of CDO credit ratings,"
Journal of Monetary Economics,
Elsevier, vol. 56(5), pages 617-634, July.
- Bolton, Patrick & Freixas, Xavier & Shapiro, Joel, 2007. "Conflicts of interest, information provision, and competition in the financial services industry," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(2), pages 297-330, August.
- J. Michael Harrison & David M. Kreps, 1978. "Speculative Investor Behavior in a Stock Market with Heterogeneous Expectations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 92(2), pages 323-336.
- Stolper, Anno, 2009. "Regulation of credit rating agencies," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 33(7), pages 1266-1273, July.
- Allen N. Berger & Sally M. Davies & Mark J. Flannery, 2000.
"Comparing market and supervisory assessments of bank performance: who knows what when?,"
Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, pages 641-670.
- Berger, Allen N & Davies, Sally M & Flannery, Mark J, 2000. "Comparing Market and Supervisory Assessments of Bank Performance: Who Knows What When?," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 32(3), pages 641-67, August.
- Allen N. Berger & Sally M. Davies & Mark J. Flannery, 1998. "Comparing market and supervisory assessments of bank performance: who knows what when?," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 1998-32, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
- Souphala Chomsisengphet & Anthony Pennington-Cross, 2006. "The evolution of the subprime mortgage market," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Jan, pages 31-56.
- Mathis, Jérôme & McAndrews, James & Rochet, Jean-Charles, 2009. "Rating the raters: Are reputation concerns powerful enough to discipline rating agencies?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(5), pages 657-674, July.
- Hirshleifer, David & Teoh, Siew Hong, 2003. "Limited attention, information disclosure, and financial reporting," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(1-3), pages 337-386, December.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:upf:upfgen:1221. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.